5.15.17 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #StillLifeWithTornado

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

{Celebrating the books we’ve read in the past week


the titles we are currently reading.}

This meme is originated by Jen and Kellee at TeachMentorTexts. Thanks!

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Remember the “What don’t kill you makes you stronger” song I played you? It’s by a band called NEED TO BREATHE.

We went to see them on Saturday night and recorded part of that song for you.


tap to view video


A heartbreaking and mindbending story of a talented teenage artist’s awakening to the brokenness of her family from critically acclaimed award-winner A.S. King.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah can’t draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has “done the art.” She thinks she’s having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she wanders the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Or maybe she’s finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can’t quite recall. After decades of staying together “for the kids” and building a family on a foundation of lies and domestic violence, Sarah’s parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage. As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original–and yet it still hurts.

Insightful, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, this is a vivid portrait of abuse, survival, resurgence that will linger with readers long after the last page.
It’s hard to know what to say about his one, except…Wow. I really like A.S. King’s writing.

Sometimes I start a book and I feel a little lost. I’m not quite sure what’s going on. Usually I press on, knowing that the author is doing this on purpose. The point is to continue reading and unravel the mystery. In this case, having just read a different A.S. King book, I knew I trusted the author enough to press on. Honestly, pressing on while listening was easier than while reading. The fact that it was so highly recommended helped, too.

A New York Times 2016 Notable Children’s Book
A News & Observer Best Book of 2016
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2016
A Booklist Best Book of 2016
Booklist Top of the List 2016
A Shelf Awareness Best Book of 2016
A BookPage Best Teen Book of 2016
A Bustle Top 30 YA Book of 2016
A Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year

I’m so glad I did. This was another captivating book. It took a turn towards fantasy in a surprising way (not spoilers here!), but all while dealing with very real issues: the brain’s ability to block out painful memories, marriage issues, and domestic violence. This got serious quickly.

I thought it was interesting that small chapters were written from the point of view of Sara’s mom, and ER nurse. It was quite clever—for a younger reader to hear the thoughts, struggles, and issues of a parent will be eye-opening. Kids think we adults have it all together… that’s not always the case. Sometimes adults are confused or dealing with serious things as well. This book captures some of that.

In an interview King recently did with the blog Inside a Dog, King responded to this question:

Inky:  You mentioned in an interview how you chose Knopf because other publishers wanted you to take the adults out of Please Ignore Vera Dietz. What are your thoughts on the absent parents trope and why is it important to you to write complex parent characters in your YA books?

AK: I could go on for ages with this answer. Look. Adults in YA books aren’t new. My favourite book from my youth was Confessions of a Teenage Baboon (1977) by Paul Zindel and it’s littered with fully formed (and flawed) adult characters. That’s what made it so relatable to me as a reader. Why? Because teenagers’ lives are controlled by adults. Mine was, anyway.

I’m a rebel by nature and the minute someone told me that YA books weren’t ‘allowed’ to have adult characters or points of view, I decided that was a dumb rule and I was going to break it. The actual thing said to me was: ‘Teens only want to read about teens’. Isn’t that crazy? That was a publishing professional in NYC. And I beg to differ. As for tropes, I believe anything can work if done well, so I don’t really comment on those. But the absent parents in YA books? I just always wonder where the adults went, I guess. (I also wonder this in middle grade books, but that’s for another day.)

I’m quickly becoming an A.S. King fan. I’m looking forward to two more of her books:


Oh, and this fun little nugget:

For every parent who leaves a comment on TODAY’S POST with what YOU’RE reading, I’ll give your child a BUSTED ticket…

Let’s take a look to see if any parents commented on last week’s IM! WAYR? post.

Did you catch my
this past week?
 How many books did students in each class read?

This is for three weeks of reading…



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Tap to read



And like magic, just as I finished Tornado…, this became available so I could finish it up.

…I ran out of time on this one and put my name back on the list.

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One thought on “5.15.17 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #StillLifeWithTornado

  1. Pingback: 5.22.17 It’s Monday! What are you Reading? #IMWAYR | {Eat the Book}

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